Balancing the Sword - A comprehensive study guide to life's manual
Perfect to frame the discussions of your family worship or a church-wide study.


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Suggestions for Groups

Balancing the Sword was developed in a group format where participants read a certain portion of Scripture and then came together once a week to discuss the reading.  We covered a little over one biblical book per week (66 books in 52 weeks).  This is a brisk rate by most standards and is probably unsuitable for groups primarily composed of families.  A two-year reading pace for one volume would likely be more reasonable.  Expect to take off a couple of weeks here and there to accomodate other activities in your church or to simply give the families and individuals a break.  Schedule a brief intermission after certain blocks of books are completed.  For example, you may need to take a couple of week off after completing the Mosaic Law before starting Joshua.  Pick a pace that works for your group.

The software that comes with the books will create a reading itinerary for your group in seconds.  Print one copy for each attendee.  Save the settings and print additional schedules for new members.  Here is an example of an actual church reading plan.

It is suggested that the leader stay one week ahead of the group.  This enables you to give fresh overviews of what the group is about to read in the coming week.  Over the seven days to follow, members should read the assigned section of Scripture and answered the Balancing the Sword questions.

If the leader feels very comfortable in the Bible, he may wish to open the forum for discussion on  any verse that fell during a given week.  Most groups will likely tend to focus on passages targeted by BTS questions.  

Balancing the Sword includes an answer key, so the group does not need to come together to find answers.  However, BTS does not offer any commentary.  This is where the group and the leader of the group offer tremendous assistance.  One person may have insights on many passages, but no one has insight on all passages.  We can learn from each other if we are all persuaded that God may opens the  eyes of our fellow Christian on matters upon which He may give us little to no understanding.  If a true dialog takes place and hearty effort is exerted by each person, we can learn much faster as a group than as individuals because we are sharing the best of our discoveries.

One of the key benefits you will offer each other as members of a group is the encouragement to remain steadfast to what is a challenging task.  Husbands and wives are the natural team God has ordained in the family.  Marital oneness should be supported (not rivaled) in a group as God's first human relationship.  When couples are not able to study together, it is suggested that you pair people in groups of two and three according to gender.  The model of small teams of two and three is demonstrated over and over in Scripture (Mk. 6:7).

Substantial depth is added when people begin to look up the cross references.  A brother can bless the group by studying a particular questions with its cross references and presenting short reviews of the best gems he uncovered.  This is a wonderful way to stir engagement within the group.

People do not necessarily need to be using Balancing the Sword to join your group.  For that matter, they do not have to do all the Bible reading in order to receive a blessing from the discussions.  However, the average person will get more from the study if he or she is doing all the reading and answering all the BTS questions.  

Sing songs that relate to the passages being studied.  Hopefully, at a later date, this BTS website will provide a list of songs and corresponding Bible passages.  In the meantime, look to the back index of a quality hymn book for suggestions.

Intellectual growth is only part of the benefit of a group study.  One of the other principle benefits gained from a group format is the fellowship that will develop in a healthy group.  Consider having a regular or periodic meal together after your Bible study.  Often in Scripture, we see that koinonia fellowship occurs with people sharing meals.  How many meals have you had this year with other brothers and sisters within the church? 

Please also see Study Techniques.

Have group ideas?  Please share. 

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Balancing the Sword is a structured study guide for every chapter of the Bible.